What Is Chaya?
Chaya (cnidoscolus aconitifolius) also called Mayan Tree Spinach, is a plant which is native to Central America and Mexico. It was an important food for the Maya who believed chaya had many nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Recent studies have confirmed what Maya shaman have known for centuries. Eating a small amount of chaya with or after a meal will lower blood glucose levels. It is also effective in treating arthritis. Chaya has traditionally been recommended for many ailments including diabetes, kidney stones, obesity, hemorrhoids, acne and eye problems.
The nutritional benefits of chaya exceed those of spinach and other vegetables. Chaya contains twice as much iron as spinach, four times more protein, and ten times more calcium. It is also high in crude fiber, potassium, carotene and vitamin C.
It is very important to cook the leaves of chaya before consuming them. The leaves of the chaya plant contain a compound that releases cyanide, a toxin which is easily destroyed by cooking for about fifteen minutes. It is also important to avoid cooking chaya in aluminum because a toxic chemical reaction can cause diarrhea.
Considering the numerous benefits of eating chaya it's easy to see why it is often referred to as The Maya Miracle Plant.